Monday, May 31, 2010

Love: Grit your teeth and do it

When we first brought Selah home from Ethiopia almost 16 months ago, we knew that attachment (creating a physiological, emotional, permanent connection between our adopted daughter and Todd and I) would be a process. We pulled our family close together for several months, being intentional about snuggling and touching, helping her understand our commitment to her and what it means to be a Magruder. And as we found our way to a new normal, we were less and less intentional.

Today as I talked to my mom about various parenting issues with our girls, I was reminded that many of my battles with Selah often come back to this process of attachment and the need to teach 6 years of trust, respect, honesty, and love to my daughter in an intentional way. I don't guess adoptive parents (or any parents, for that matter) are ever done teaching those lessons.

I wish it was easier.
I wish it came more naturally.
I wish my heart wasn't so ugly sometimes.

One thing I know, without a doubt, is that I am not capable of doing this thing, loving this child, parenting these children on my own strength...with my own abilities. It doesn't matter how much I read, how clever I am, how much patience I have (or lack).....I'm in desperate need of something bigger than that.

My dread-wearing internet friend, Christine
, shares from the trenches of attachment parenting:

(thanks, Owlhaven, for the reminder!)


Dana said...

This is so true Gretchen! I think our issues have gotten worse lately as she is getting more and more comfortable with her situation. It can be very hard to control my "feelings" and love her unconditionally.

tracy said...

I so agree with you. I think sometimes the hardest thing for my family is the fact that Calvin and Isaiah adapted so easily and we constantly have struggles with Jamal. Sometimes I want to blame him? Wow does that throw on the guilt! I realize in my mind that he was older, has more baggage, was exposed to more....but realistically...sometimes I just want it to be easier. It's hard to find time to be intentional. I couldn't love him anymore- please don't get me wrong but "loving" has never been my weakness. Its patience, tolerance and grace in everyday life that don't come as easy. Im thankful for friends who are walking the same path in life and Im thankful for a God who has given us the tools to overcome our challenges.

kelli said...

Oh Gretchen thank you for this. Levi and I have struggled to "attach" since day one. He and Jason have had no trouble at all. I feel left out. It helps to know I'm not just a horrible parent and that's it's normal but it still FEELS horrible.

Emily said...

I love you Gretchen.
And your willingness to love unconditionally, even when its hard.
You are awesome.

joven said...
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Ryan and Elyse said...

I remember watching this video of hers a while ago... very hard stuff. And I agree with Emily, you are awesome!

Sarah Jane said...


Thank you for posting this. I love what she says and the way she looks at the scripture in 1 Corinthians that we have heard so often in our lives. It's a fresh look, a look that causes parents to think differently about it and a look that causes us to look inside ourselves as parents. She is speaking from the heart, and her message is simple, yet powerful. Thank you for posting this.